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New doubt cast on Ireland's hottest temperature

  • 19-07-2022 5:20pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,054 ✭✭✭

    The below is interesting as the assumption from some on here was that the 33.3 was totally representative of conditions in Ireland and the UK at the time.

    "The reanalysis also compared the temperature recorded in Kilkenny to six other weather stations, including in Birr, Phoenix Park, Roches Point, and Sheffield in the UK.

    These stations have nearly complete records through to today, many of which have been digitised, according to the study.

    The maximum surface temperatures of the selected weather stations for June 1887. The red point marker shows the maximum surface temperature recorded at Kilkenny on 26 June 1887.

    “We can look at the modern day differences between those and when we look at the date in 1887, the Kilkenny Castle difference is either entirely outside the distribution of expected daily occurrences or right in the extreme of that distribution,” Thorne said.



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,123 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    so the temp recorded was 4C higher than the next highest temp from the country that day? evelyn cusack seems to be having none of the traitor talk though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,015 ✭✭✭John.Icy

    I'd find it interesting for them to say this 'was it near a wall of the castle that might heat during the day and expel heat' while saying the temperature recorded in Phoenix Park is possibly the hottest temperature recorded in Ireland.

    You can make several arguments against the PP station in terms of the stations location, no less with a building close by which would equal a potential flaw that he thinks would contribute to the Kilkenny reading being possibly bogus? Musicman18 (I think) gave a detailed break down of the layout yesterday and put it very well how the station as is would get warmer readings than if it was located just outside the OSI grounds. Yet he considers the PP reading unimpeachable, which based on the idea that the recording instruments are modern/accurate is *fine* - because that's not in doubt, the 33.1c reading 100% happened yesterday and is official/correct etc. But many posters on here have said the instrumentation for the 1887 also was proven accurate and working, right? If he applies scrutiny to both instances then maybe he should be settling on the 1976 reading of 32.5c as the best fit record based on some of his arguments perhaps?

    I don't mind if someone has an issue with the KK reading, it certainly does seem a out-there thing from some angles. And I didn't know the WMO discounted it? But I wouldn't be trying to remove a historical data point and record just to state a known heat trap station is the actual hottest day ever and the narrative that could go from that (I feel like a lot of people don't like our heat record is so old and we can't break it). Our climate has the data to show on average things are warming here, we don't exactly need the hottest temp to show that either. Let's get the 33.3 someday without needing to delete anything for now.

    An interesting read nonetheless, thanks!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,399 ✭✭✭NSAman

    Doesn't fit the agenda of course.. ;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭Hooter23

    The record temperatures in the UK today are also false...the cities are so big these days and there are so much concrete and tarmac it raises the temperatures by many degrees that what they actually would normally be without all of this...even in winter time you can see this mentioned on forecasts where temperatures stay above freezing in cities while the surrounding countryside is frozen solid because the temperature difference it causes are so big

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,363 ✭✭✭dePeatrick

    ‘What is not questionable, he said, is the reliability of the 33.1°C temperature recorded yesterday in Phoenix Park.’

    Don't know how he can say that when the measurement taken in PP is in a sun trap near concrete buildings, sure, that was the temperature there but not elsewhere. If the Kilkenny measurement is questionable then the PP one is too using the same criteria.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 984 ✭✭✭Still stihl waters 3

    It read 36 in my jeep yesterday so that'd the new record, I even have a picture

  • Registered Users Posts: 403 ✭✭Reversal

    Only comparing 6 stations, why did this study use so few?

    24°C at a coastal station such as Roche's point? Seems entirely plausible to see over 30 at an inland station like Kilkenny on a day like that. For example, Roches point was 23.5 yesterday.

    There was a 16 degree spread in maxes yesterday. Would be easy to make a chart to make the Phoenix park reading look like an impossible outlier.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,517 ✭✭✭Billcarson

    The record 40.3c in England today was recorded in a village in Lincolnshire, not a big city.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,913 ✭✭✭Danno

    I suggest that folk read this...

    Secondly, that study disregarded the fact that 30.0c was recorded in Galway that day and 30.6c was recorded in Tycor Waterford the following day.

    Killarney also recorded a very high temperature on June 26th 1887. But no mention of that in their study. They include Sheffield in England though, strangely.

    I've seen the Kilkenny figure questioned several times now in the recent decade or so, anytime somewhere in Ireland records above 31c.

    In my opinion it's as if there is a sharp focus on this temperature record in order to enhance the climate change argument. Its bizarre as in the next sentence we're told we're 100% responsible for heating above the temperatures of the 1800s, the very dataset they've doubts over aspects of!

    Mad world.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,544 ✭✭✭✭sryanbruen

    Here's a basic map showing the maximum temps at various available stations on 26 June 1887, the day of the Kilkenny Castle record. Given the variation we can see on a typical very warm to hot day in Ireland, it looks fine to me 🤷‍♂️ second highest out of these was 31.7C at Blackrock, Cork.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,054 ✭✭✭compsys

    Yes - it does appear that they were perhaps a bit selective with the stations they chose.

    However, perhaps it's because these stations have the longest and most reliable set of records? I'm not sure.

    "These stations have nearly complete records through to today, many of which have been digitised, according to the study."

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,869 ✭✭✭EchoIndia

    To be specific, I expect it was at RAF Coningsby, which is a military airfield.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,517 ✭✭✭Billcarson

    Wonder if yesterday's set up happened at the end of June (as the record was at the end of june) with that bit of extra solar heating could it have broken the record? Or the fact that a few weeks earlier in the season would have meant perhaps a slightly cooler airmass and would cancel out the slightly higher sun?

    Just a thought.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,639 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    You'd have a greater difference than that in County Cork alone.

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,746 ✭✭✭✭RobertKK

    Kilkenny is not typical for Ireland, it is a county with hills around its edges that go over 1000ft/300m and Kilkenny City in the centre is around 200ft/60m above sea level.

    I have zero doubt that this helped Kilkenny get the record, a record that I believe will be broken this decade, Ireland is getting over 30C more commonly that it use to.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,913 ✭✭✭Danno

    It is quite unique in terms of it's geography.

    Image from

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Gaoth Laidir

    Firstly, yesterday's 33.1 has been rejected and the earlier 33.0 has been confirmed.

    It's in Thorne's interest to cast doubt on the KK value as it will help keep him well-funded into the future. I find it ironic that he says this:

    “It would have been mercury and glass thermometers, and it probably would have been a maximum and minimum thermometer. [The weather station] is something that would look like a meteorological shelter that we see today, but it would have been probably smaller because the large shelters were an innovation that came around in the First and Second World Wars,”.

    “It would have been smaller and the smaller size of that would have left it more prone to solar heating effects during the day, and then coupled to that would have been [questions about whether] it well sited, was it near a wall of the castle that might heat during the day and expel heat. 

    I wonder if he thinks the same about the 48-degree reading in Sicily last year, which was recorded using an AWS in a tiny radiation shield sitting a few cm above a thick metal arm in a small, dark metal fence enclosure near a stone wall in a bare field near a road. I don't expect he does. Or about the Shannon carkpark. Or the building beside the PP enclosure.

    The Phoenix Park site has no doubt changed over time, both naturally (I assume the trees have grown) and artificially (that buildin a few steps away). Modern instrumentation does not distinguish between air that has been heated naturally or artificially, it will accurately measure the temperature just the same. Just as a mercury one will do. Using Thorne's rationale, we should reject many more old measurements because they were done before the standardisation of practices.

    Post edited by Gaoth Laidir on

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,913 ✭✭✭Danno

    Interesting thought @Billcarson

    Seas are cooler in June than July though and unless we're drawing our airflow from the southeast in over southern Wales, southern England and northern France then maritime cooling would mix in more I would think.

    Kilkennyweather give a reasonable account of the 1887 event here: 1887 The Hottest Day (

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Gaoth Laidir

    And it has sandy soil, which is prone to more wide extremes in temperature (hot and cold). It looks like June had been an extremely dry month in Ireland, with only 4.3 mm of rainfall in Waterford, 6.9 mm at Enniscorthy, 8.6 mm at Birr, 10.5 mm at Phoenix Park, 13.7 mm at Galway. It was the second driest June on record in Waterford from 1874-2012, for example. Data here.

    Such dry sandy soil is highly susceptible to high afternoon temperatures, especially around the Summer Solstice. Higher surface temperature means higher air temperature. You could have a station out in the middle of an open field and it would still read higher in this type of soil condition.

    I didn't see Thorne mention that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,317 ✭✭✭PokeHerKing

    What a pointless, biased study. Waste of money and time. If this is what climate scientists spend their time doing they'd be better off slashing tires or blocking roads, it would be more productive at least.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,676 ✭✭✭Rougies

    So many variables involved in that thought. It reminds me of people saying "if only this was January we'd be buried in snow" when we get marginal situations in March. Let's go with what we know, ie. just another 20 minutes of clear skies at the Phoenix Park would have broken the record. Casement could have broken the record too with clearer skies. It all came down to the random nature of cloud cover.

  • Registered Users Posts: 882 ✭✭✭DrZeuss

    The way I read it was that 33.3 may in fact have been on the low side in 1887 (if they are calling it into question) 😁 pigeons

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,913 ✭✭✭Danno

    In the E, and S. of Ireland, up to August, every month of 1887 was drier than usual, especially June; but rain came on August 13th, and the remainder of that month proved moderately wet. Had August been dry, the S. and S. E. of Ireland would have been, agriculturally speaking, ruined. The wet August saved the pastures and the root crops. Its temperature was about the average. September was dry and cold. October was dry and very cold. November was wet and cold. Of the twelve months of 1887, eight were colder than usual two about an average, and two of fierce heat. Ten months were drier than usual, and two had an excess of rainfall. The sticking feature of the year was the sudden outburst of heat in June and July, accompanied by great drought, and following a very cold, dry, backward spring. 

    Source: Page 232.

    Spot on @Gaoth Laidir with the drought conditions. I think it was just 5mm for Kilkenny that June.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,422 ✭✭✭✭M.T. Cranium

    If the castle was a large structure (as I assume it was or is) and the instrument was near a north-facing wall, those factors would not be big problems for the veracity of the readings there, a large north-facing stone wall would be in shade most of the day and would not be radiating much heat. Different story if it were a south or west facing wall. In any case I have seen enough climate data to know that variations within 1 C deg are fairly standard over very short distances and they don't have enormous significance, what does have more significance is how frequently record or near-record temperatures are set.

    I did the following analysis on net-weather in support of their contest thread. The CET has been keeping daily maximum records since 1878, and this was the top forty of them going into Tuesday 19th (the new record was set on Monday 18th as shown). This list will be amended no doubt when Tuesday 19th comes in around 37-38 C. The data are an average of three locations near Luton, Oxford and Blackburn. Some minor adjustments have been made over time to homogenize the data series. You'll notice the ongoing increase in frequency of these top forty hot days in the period of record.

    CET Top Forty Maximum Temperatures (before Tues 19th July 2022 added to list)

    1. 34.8 __ 18 July 2022 

     2. 34.2 __ 25 July 2019

     3. 33.4 ___ 3 Aug 1990

     4. 33.2 __ 31 July 2020

     5. 33.1 ___ 3 July 1976

     6. 33.0 __ 19 July 2006

    t7 32.8 ___ 2 Aug 1990

    t7 32.8 ___ 9 Aug 2003

    t7 32.8 ___ 1 July 2015

    10. 32.0 __ 12 Aug 2020

    t11 31.9 ___ 4 Aug 1975

    t11 31.9 ___ 1 Aug 1995

    13. 31.7 ___ 2 July 1976

    14. 31.6 ___ 6 July 1976

    t15 31.5 __ 29 July 1948

    t15 31.5 ___ 2 Aug 1995

    t17 31.3 ___ 4 and 5 July 1976

    19. 31.2 __ 31 Aug 1906

    t20 31.1 ___ 1 Sep 1906

    t20 31.1 ___ 7 and 8 Aug 1975

    23. 31.0 __ 12 July 1923 

    t24 30.9 ___ 9 Aug 1911

    t24 30.9 __ 31 July 1943

    t24 30.9 __ 13 July 2003

    t24 30.9 __ 18 July 2006

    t24 30.9 __ 19 July 2016

    t29 30.8 __ 28 July 1948

    t29 30.8 __ 26 July 2018

    31. 30.7 __ 11 Aug 2020

    32. 30.6 __ 13 July 1923

    t33 30.5 __ 13 Aug 1911

    t33 30.5 __ 27 Aug 1930

    t33 30.5 __ 30 July 1948

    t33 30.5 __ 10 Aug 1997

    t37 30.4 1 July 1976, 31 July 1995, 3 Aug 1995 and 29 June 2019


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,067 ✭✭✭✭fryup

    how accurate were temperature recordings back in those day?? how accurate were thermometers for instance?

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,913 ✭✭✭Danno

    That is a very good question @fryup - the above image quoted from @StratoQ's site explains the following:

    I have found a copy of the Report of the Meteorological Council 1890 which mentions the inspection that took place at Kilkenny Castle in August 1889 (Two years after the record breaking temperature was recorded). The report states that the instruments were all in good order. The maximum thermometer was checked against a known good standard thermometer and the correction to be applied was found to be 0.0° (i.e. the thermometer required no correction and was reporting the true value). 

    So, even two years after the record was taken, the same thermometer was checking out as being "spot on" and recording accurately.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,913 ✭✭✭Danno

    Yes - it does appear that they were perhaps a bit selective with the stations they chose.

    It doesn't just appear so, they were without much doubt very selective in what they chose. Adding Sheffield in there was bizarre to say the least. I went through the flies they left on git hub, they included Galways 30.0c in their comparisons there but it never appeared in the chart on the final report - the one where they put a little red box to imply Kilkenny was way out of kilter.

    The poor quality of this even shows Kilkenny incorrectly labeled on the plot chart, how can Kilkenny show a max of 29.2c for June 26th 1887 and also show 33.3c for June 26th 1887 marked by a red box? A very basic error to make on a paper entitled Reassessing Ireland’s Hottest Temperature Record, which is currently being peer reviewed and was resubmitted yesterday morning for what he hopes is the final revision. 

    Sryanbruen above spent a couple of hours pulling data from and recreated a chart that is ten fold more professional than what this paper purports to show.

    However, perhaps it's because these stations have the longest and most reliable set of records? I'm not sure.

    If these stations have a most reliable set of records, why are they questioning the 33.3c, ignoring the fact that the thermometer used to record 33.3c was checked and found to be working! Are they investigating Markree's -19.1c recorded just six years earlier too? Or is it's validity overlooked just because it's a cold record?

    "These stations have nearly complete records through to today, many of which have been digitised, according to the study."

    Which is a good thing if the digitisation process is free from alterations such as homogenisation - i.e. just the raw data please.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭Hooter23

    It does not matter...there are big cities in every direction you turn over in england...the huge amount of extra heat from all these cities drifts for many miles especially in summer sunshine so even the surrounding countryside will be affected by the extra heat...more than likely all that extra heat converged on the area where they got a so called record...

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,601 ✭✭✭✭

    Oh i dunno, I've always thought of Kilkenny as Ireland's Sonoran Desert meself 😎

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,015 ✭✭✭John.Icy

    What exactly is the context of 'but there is no prospect of this station becoming one of the second order'?

    Assuming the second order were the leading/official stations or something (may be wrong, second order sounds like a cult), then Mr. Scott found something odd with the Kilkenny station that it would never be upgraded, no?

    I find it mad that there is nothing to be found on the stations exactly location. Surely somewhere, in some old record or paperwork, it's said exactly where it is. Would be a fun side project to try find it out once and for all.